The 2,298-km high-speed rail from Beijing-Guangzhou opens on December 26, making it the longest in the world. Jut a few years ago the 30-hour trip is now cut to 8 hours. Tickets range from RMB 865-2,727 (USD 138 – 437) so it is not necessarily cheaper than discount airfares but rail in China has become quite comfortable and an overnight sleeper saves daytime hours and a night’s hotel bill. This is the big jewel in the crown of China’s high-speed rail, the premier and economically critical route from the capital to the manufacturing powerhouse of Guangdong Province.
Keeping with length, the Kirgiz “Epic of Manas” is 18 times longer than the Odyssey and there is one 94-year old man left that has recited the entire work from memory, a feat in 1983 that took 21 days. Good candidate for tablet edition over print.
At a happy hour last night I met a traveler I envy so much I don’t follow his tweets, Lee Abbamonte, who I first read about in researching Pitcairn Island, which is still a distant dream for me. I wish I had his chutzpah. To pick a post at random, if you haven’t heard of The Gambier Archipeligo, and I hadn’t, here’s your chance to drool. Most of the time nowadays he covers more traditional and upscale destinations that are more easily within reach of the rest of us.
I am about to do my year-end charitable contributions and I owe much of my decisions to initial recommendations from the NYT’s Nicholas Kristof’s year-end columns on charities, this year Gifts that Change Lives highlights several organizations involved in stopping human trafficking, and other worthy causes.